Link Search Menu Expand Document

Liminal Horror System Reference Document (v.2.25)

What is an SRD? How can is use it to create my own hack?

SRD (or System Reference Document) is often used in game design to mean a document that contains the information that is licensed for use by others to hack/create their own materials. Since Liminal Horror is licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0 all of the text is open for use (other systems leave the rules open for use but restrict specific lore/content). A project down the line may be an actual Hacking Guide that talks about the different components and how to use them. Until then, you can see how I adapted the core game text from Cairn.

Other formats for the SRD (files updated on 7/10/21):

Acknowledgements

Liminal Horror is licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.

Liminal Horror is a tabletop role playing game with one Facilitator (the facilitator) and at least two other players. Players act as investigators navigating a modern world full of terrible and unknowable things that hide in the spaces between, looking for a way in.

Index

Overview

Facilitator and Player

Facilitators make consistent rulings during play and facilitate situations in which the players can engage with the fiction. The goal is to create interesting stories of horror and struggle against powers greater than oneself.

Player Choice

Facilitators provide players with as much information as possible in order to be innovative and clever in their problem solving. Risks should be clear, with multiple options for player choice present. Every choice matters.

No Classes

Investigators are not limited by a predefined class. A character’s specialty begins with their background, equipment, and experiences.

Growth

There is no leveling or mechanical experience in Liminal Horror. Success and failure lead to memorable stories. Building relationships, encountering void-touched relics, and stress fallout lead to character growth.

Stress and Fallout

Play deals with themes of cosmic horror. This is represented mechanically with stress and Stress Fallout. Fallout centers on how characters are changed by the Old Powers. The design intentionally avoids using mental illness and trauma as gameplay mechanics.

The Weird

Liminal Horror is designed to be set in a modern city. Characters slowly learn of the weird and dangerous things hidden in the dark. They will bend, or break, under the weight of the unknown.

The Old Powers and their Progeny

The Old Powers are bound in the deep, far away spaces. Their progeny act as a connection to reality. Some scurry across its surface while others are trapped beneath it. Many serve knowingly while even more are oblivious to the plans they further.

Death

The world is dangerous and death is always a possible consequence. It should be ever present but never random or unexpected.

Death comes for everyone, but some suffer a fate worse.

back to index

Principles for Facilitators

Information

  • Information should never be kept behind rolls.
  • Provide information readily and freely to facilitate critical thinking and clever play.
  • Elicit questions from players and give them direct answers.
  • The weird and their mysteries should be layered, leading players ever downward into the unknown.

Secrets

  • Leverage the themes of dread, forbidden knowledge, and fear of the unknown.
  • Provide information on the physical and tangible reality to players but keep the true nature of things beyond reach.
  • Slowly give investigators opportunities to pull at threads, drawing them deeper into the weird.
  • The scale of what the PCs face is incomprehensible. True understanding is unattainable.

Preparation

  • Make the world alive, allow it to change and grow because of your players’ actions.
  • Be flexible in your preparation. Create situations and possibilities. Plot and story should not be predefined.
  • Give NPCs and factions motivations, flaws and drives. Have NPCs react accordingly to their principles, on and off screen. NPCs should always have a drive to survive.
  • Play to find out what happens.

Difficulty

  • Realism and fictional positioning are a good starting place for setting difficulty.
  • Choices should have consequences and all failure should be interesting.
  • Saves cover various scenarios of uncertainty and risk. If there is neither, do not call for a roll.
  • Reward cleverness and ingenuity.

Danger

  • The risk is great for lasting harm, fallout from stress and overwhelming danger of encountering the Old Powers or their progeny.
  • Present the potential of danger clearly for players and give them the opportunity to react.
  • Increasing the amount of stress will increase the rate investigators are enveloped by the corruption of the Old Powers.
  • Characters die.

Choice

  • Offer tough choices.
  • All situations should have multiple outcomes.
  • Clarify player intent before dice are rolled to make sure players have all information that would be obvious to their character.
  • The influence of the Old Powers bends and breaks reality, making the full scope of some outcomes obscured.
  • Every action should leave an impact on the world in some way.

Failure

  • Failure should push the story forward.
  • Foster a table where success and failure are equally exciting.
  • It is encouraged to elicit complications or twists from players.

Die of Fate

  • Sometimes randomness is required. Roll 1d6 to consult the die of fate
  • 6: Good result/ 4-5: Mixed result/ 1-3: Bad result

back to index

Principles for Players

Agency

  • The numbers on your character sheet act as tools to mechanically engage with the game. They do not define your character.
  • Use how your character has grown to inform your play.
  • Embrace the weird and unknown.

Teamwork

  • Work to support others at the table.
  • Elicit interaction from other players.
  • Characters don’t always have to be aligned, but players should be aiming toward the same goal of memorable stories of horror and fun interactions with friends.

Talking

  • NPCs have drives and flaws. Interact with them as you would a real person.
  • Build relationships, engage with rivals, and invest in the NPCs.
  • Information and positive outcomes can often be achieved through dialogue. That being said, sometimes a cultist’s communion requires an offering of blood and bone.

Caution

  • Fighting is risky and the consequences of violence are long lasting.
  • A shattered mind is just as debilitating as a broken body.
  • Gain any advantage you can. Preparation can stave off certain doom.
  • Magic is chaotic and wielding the unknowable can have dire consequences.
  • Victory comes in many forms, and often it is a successful retreat.

Planning

  • Ask questions.
  • There is no perception or intelligence attribute. How you engage with the world hinges on how you use the information provided.
  • Reconnaissance, subtlety, and fact-finding are necessary for survival.

Ambition

  • Discover the drives and goals for you as a player, your character, and the team. Use those to inform play.
  • Try and fail forward. An engaging story is infinitely more interesting and memorable than simple successes.
  • It is the complications and resulting actions that we remember afterward.
  • Characters die, but the story will continue.
  • Play to find out what happens.

back to index

Character Creation

1. Ability Scores

Player Characters (PCs) have three ability scores:

  • Strength (STR): Physicality, brawn & toughness.
  • Dexterity (DEX): Speed, sneaking & precision.
  • Control (CTRL): Willpower, charm & weird

When creating a Player Character (PC), the player should roll 3d6 for each of their character’s ability scores, in order. They may then swap any two of the results.

2. Hit Protection

Roll 1d6 to determine your PC’s starting Hit Protection (HP). HP does not indicate a character’s health but reflects their ability to avoid damage (both physical damage and stress). HP can be recovered after a few moments rest (see Healing). Both Damage and Stress subtract first from your HP. Some things do Damage, some things do Stress, and some do both.

(+ _ Armor) is a tag that items have to indicate that they provide protection from damage and reduce it before it is applied to HP.

(+_Stability) is a tag that special items have to indicate that they provide protection from stress and reduce it before it is applied to HP. Any excess damage or stress (past 0 HP) is applied to the appropriate attribute.

If stress would take a PC’s HP exactly to 0, the player must roll on the Stress Fallout table.

3. Investigator Details

  • Choose a name for your character,
  • Roll a background. This informs their knowledge and potential skills.
  • Choose a style of clothing or look for your character.
  • Answer the Getting To Know Your Character.
  • Determine the rest of your character’s traits.
  • Choose their age or roll 2d20+16.

4. Starting Gear

All investigators start with an Investigator Bundle (a phone, cash, notebook & pen). Players then roll on the Starting Gear tables to determine equipment. If indicated, add Magic to your character sheet and refer to the Magic

Characters have a total of 10 inventory slots: a backpack or bag (six slots), hands and upper body (four slots). Most items take up one slot, with smaller items that can be bundled together. Bulky items take two slots and are awkward or require two hands.

The Equipment List has a more detailed overview of weapons and investigative gear. As a table, decide on what common household tools PCs have access to in addition to their starting gear.

5. The Party

The final step is to establish a party set up using the Party Questions section. This provides the initial context for investigators and their journey into the unknown.

back to index

Names & Background

Names:

Choose a name that best fits the character you are wanting to play (often I do this at the end of the character generating process.

Clothing

Choose a style of clothing/look. A gold star if you find visual references to share with the group.

Background

       
1 Journalist 11 Old Money
2 Store Clerk 12 Author
3 Private Investigator 13 Professor
4 Cleric (ex?) 14 Very Online
5 Medic 15 Lawyer
6 Archivist 16 Gig-Worker
7 Artist 17 Trades
8 Athlete 18 Social Work
9 Criminal 19 Finance
10 Drifter 20 Hospitality

Getting To Know Your Character

The Abyss Stares Back

What was your first encounter with the unknown? Roll or choose:

       
1 Lost a loved one under mysterious circumstances. 6 The evidence online is too much to be ignored.
2 Witnessed something in the darkness. 7 You survived an attack you cannot explain.
3 Something is lurking in your dreams. 8 Someone close to you is pulling you in, or pushing you away.
4 Cult activity (perhaps they recruited someone significant). 9 You may be a card carrying member in a secret society.
5 You read something not meant for mortal minds. 10 You haven’t yet, that’s what session 1 is for!

Ideology and Beliefs

What is your character’s initial ideology/beliefs? What lens do they use to interpret the world and guide them toward action? Create your own or use the table below:

       
1 Everything has a rational explanation rooted in science. 6 Individuals can make a difference.
2 You ascribe to a specific political ideology. 7 A specific religion guides you.
3 Morality is black and white. 8 You believe in fate and it directly impacts your life.
4 Belief in higher powers. Astrology, spirituality, etc. 9 Free will is the only truth.
5 There are deep truths that others are not aware of. The answers are out there. 10 You believe in the power of community.

Connections

  • List one significant person to the investigator. What is their relationship? Give them a name and brief description.
  • List one contact the investigator has. This could be connected to their background. What is the contact’s area of expertise and what is their relationship to the investigator?

Potential Connections

       
1 Family member 6 Online associate
2 Lover (current or former) 7 Hero
3 Friend 8 Rival
4 Mentor 9 A Specialist
5 Protege 10 NPC

back to index

Character Traits (Roll d10 or choose)

Physique

       
1 Athletic 6 Scrawny
2 Brawny 7 Short
3 Curvy 8 Statuesque
4 Lanky 9 Stout
5 Rugged 10 Towering

Face

       
1 Bony 6 Perfect
2 Broken 7 Round
3 Chiseled 8 Sharp
4 Elongated 9 Square
5 Dimpled 10 Sunken

Speech

       
1 Blunt 6 Gravelly
2 Booming 7 Precise
3 Cryptic 8 Squeaky
4 Droning 9 Choppy
5 Formal 10 Whispery

Clothing

       
1 Antique 6 Frayed
2 Bloody 7 Frumpy
3 Elegant 8 Livery
4 Filthy 9 Rancid
5 Foreign 10 Soiled

Virtue (optional)

       
1 Ambitious 6 Honorable
2 Cautious 7 Humble
3 Courageous 8 Merciful
4 Disciplined 9 Serene
5 Gregarious 10 Tolerant

Flaw (optional)

       
1 Aggressive 6 Lazy
2 Bitter 7 Nervous
3 Craven 8 Rude
4 Deceitful 9 Vain
5 Greedy 10 Vengeful

Misfortunes (optional)

       
1 Abandoned 6 Defrauded
2 Addicted 7 Demoted
3 Blackmailed 8 Discredited
4 Condemned 9 Disowned
5 Cursed 10 Exiled

back to index

Starting Gear

All PCs begin with an Investigator Bundle:

  • Phone (roll 2d4): 1-4 is a flip phone; 5-8 is a smart phone
  • Starting Cash ($3d10 x 3d10 )
  • Notebook and pen

Weapons (d20)

         
1 2-7 8-17 18-19 20
Armored Vest Improvised or Crude Weapon Dagger, Baton, Taser/Mace or pistol Rifle or Shotgun Magic (see Magic)

Investigative Gear

               
1 Night Vision Googles 6 Handcuffs 11 Flashbang 16 Spray paint
2 Zip Ties 7 Grappling Hook & rope 12 Directional Microphone 17 Laptop & Printer
3 Binoculars 8 Body bag 13 Glass cutting tools 18 Kevlar rope
4 Chain & Lock 9 Tactical Flashlight 14 A box with no seam 19 Good Camera
5 Ancient Tome 10 An ivory necklace (+1 Stability) 15 Lockpicks 20 Bolt Cutters

Memento (d10)

       
1 A note from a lost love 6 A letter in a language you cannot identify
2 An item from your background 7 A book filled with names (in another’s handwriting)
3 A business card with a number written on the back 8 A voice recording
4 A piece of jewelry carved from bone 9 A heavily redacted file
5 A will 10 A small, old figurine

Bonus Item

       
1-5 6-13 14-19 20
Memento Investigative Gear Weapon Magic (see magic section)

back to index

Party Questions

The Party

Why has the party come together? Use the answers from the Get To Know Your Character section to inform your decision. As a table create your own or use the table below (d6):

   
1 The investigators meet in a diner. They may or may not know each other. Fluorescent lights hum over checkered linoleum.
2 A simple “wrong place, wrong time.” The resulting event binds the investigators together.
3 United through self guided research. Online paranatural forum? Club? Support group?
4 A mysterious patron that has brought the investigators together.
5 Members of the community respond to a series of mysterious events.
6 Investigators (either professional or amateur) that are looking into an event.

Character Bonds (optional)

Have each player state a relationship to another character at the table. This should be informed by the background, The Abyss Stares Back, and The Party section of character creation. Some examples are:

   
1 _____ is hiding something from me.
2 _____ is my ex.
3 _____ saved me from whatever it was that tried to attack me.
4 _____ is my drinking buddy
5 ___ is my co-worker at ___
6 _____ is my neighbor.

Vehicles

Determine as a group what types of vehicle or transportation the party has access to. The party may have access to more than one vehicle. Car chases are an essential part of solving a mystery. Vehicles have HP. When it is reduced to 0HP it is totaled. Totaling a vehicle can cause damage to those in and around the vehicle.

back to index

Equipment List

Protection

   
Armored Vest (+1 Armor) $1000
Amulet from the old country (+1 Stability) $1000
Gas Mask (protects against airborne toxins) $100
Mask (protects your identity) $20

Weapons

   
Unarmed attack (d4 damage) Free
Improvised or Crude Weaponry (d6 damage, bulky) $20
Hand Weapons: Dagger, Baton, Axe (d6 damage) $50
Taser/Mace Combo (DEX save or momentarily stunned) $50
Pistol (d6 damage) $200
Sawed off Shotgun (d6 blast, bulky) $500
Rifle (d8 damage, bulky) $750
Shotgun (d8 damage, bulky) $750
Assault rifle (d8 or d6 blast damage, bulky) $1250
Combat Shotgun (d6 damage blast with d8 area, bulky) $1250
Sniper (d8 damage or d12 damage when hidden, bulky) $1750

Explosives

   
Molotov Cocktail (sets area alight, causing d6 continued damage until put out) $50
Flashbang (blast, temporarily blinds those who fail a DEX save) $100
Grenade (d8 damage, blast) $100
IED (d6 damage, blast with d4 continued damage per round) $200

Modern Day Potions

   
Tranquilizers (STR save or pass out) $50
Drugs (high based on drug, potential CTRL or STR save to grapple with negative effects) $50
Poison (lose d20 STR if passes through a blood-tissue barrier) $50
Antitoxin (stops toxins - unpleasant) $50
Acid (d4 damage until removed, caustic liquid that burns through materials $100
Stims (immediate recovery from critical damage, +1d4 temporary DEX) $100

Gear - does not include average tools found in most modern homes

       
Alarm Bypass $500 Forgery Kit $150
Bear Trap $100 Glass Cutting Tools $150
Binoculars $100 Grease $30
Blow Torch (welding) $250 Handcuffs $50
Body Bag $25 Head Lamp $25
Bolt Cutters $40 Laptop $1,000
Car Opening Kit $75 Lighter $10
Chain & Lock $50 Locksmith tools $150
Chainsaw $200 Marbles $20
Climbing Gear $150 Mechanical Tool Kit $150
Comms: Ear pieces $500 Metal Ball Bearings $40
Comms: Walkie Talkies $200 Night Vision Goggles $200
Directional Microphone $200 Pharmacist Kit $150
Drone / Advanced Drone $200 / $1000 Portable Ram $75
Good Camera $400 Portable Winch $100
Duffle Bag $50 Pulley & Rope $25
Duffle full of items for Black Bloc $150 Road Spikes (caltrops) $50
Electrical Tool Kit $150 Sledgehammer $40
Emergency Medical Kit $50 Spike Strip $150
Emergency Surgery Kit $100 Spray paint $15
Fake ID $200 Tarp $25
Flare $20 Zip Ties $25

back to index

Rules

Abilities

Each of the three abilities are used in situations.

Strength (STR): Used for saves in instances of physical power and endurance. Physical damage targets STR.

Dexterity (DEX): Used for saves in instances of speed, subtlety, and precision.

Control (CTRL): Used for saves in instances of the weird, luck, social interaction, emotional strain, stress, and fallout. Stress targets CTRL.

Saves

A save is the resolution mechanic used in play. Saves are only used when there is risk. If there is no risk or interesting narrative outcome, no roll is needed.

To make a save PCs roll a d20 against the target attribute. If they roll equal to or under that ability score, they pass. Otherwise, they fail. A 1 is always a success, and a 20 is always a failure.

If there is a contested action, the party at most risk makes the save.

Healing

Taking a quick rest for a few moments restores HP but can leave the investigators exposed. Ability loss takes longer to recover from. It can take as much as a week’s rest with medical intervention or magical means.

Armor and Stability

A target’s Armor value is deducted from incoming damage before it is applied to HP. Equipment can provide this bonus defence (e.g. +1 Armor).

A target’s Stability value is deducted from incoming stress before it is applied to HP. Equipment can provide this bonus defence (e.g. +1 Stability). These are often items, trinkets, or objects that provide a deep sense of comfort and connection to reality.

It is up to the Facilitator’s discretion to create additional equipment that have the tags (+1 Armor) or (+1 Stability).

Deprivation & Fatigue

A PC deprived of a crucial need (such as food or rest) is unable to recover HP or ability scores. PCs may also take the deprived tag as the result of magical consequences or enemy abilities.

Anyone deprived for more than a day adds Fatigue to their inventory, one for each day. Each Fatigue occupies one slot and lasts until they are able to recuperate (such as a full night’s rest in a safe spot).

PCs can also gain Deprived or Fatigue from casting spells or through events in the fiction.

Inventory

Characters have a total of 10 inventory slots: a backpack (or similar case/bag) with six slots, one slot for each hand, and two slots for their upper body (such as the belt, chest, or head).

Most items take up one slot, and small items can be bundled together. Slots are abstract and can be rearranged per the Facilitator’s discretion. Bulky items take up two slots and are typically two-handed or awkward to carry.

A PC cannot carry more items than their inventory allows. Vehicles can be used to store additional inventory, but they are inaccessible if you are away from the vehicle.

Anyone carrying a full inventory (e.g. filling all 10 slots) is reduced to 0 HP

Reactions

When the PCs encounter an NPC whose reaction to the party is not obvious, the Facilitator may have a player roll 2d6 and consult the following table:

         
2 3-5 6-8 9-11 12
Hostile Wary Curious Kind Helpful

Associates

PCs can hire Associates to aid in their investigations.

To create an associate roll 3d6 for each ability score, then give them 1d6 HP and a simple weapon (d6), then roll on the Character Creation tables to further flesh them out. Associates cost between 50-100 dollars per day. Some are prepared for violence, but may require a little persuasion in order to undertake something truly dangerous or weird.

Expert Associates: An expert is a more temporary associate who is employed for a very specific task. They have 3HP and have an area of expertise with corresponding equipment. They cost $300 per day.

Vehicles

Vehicles have HP. When HP reaches 0 the vehicle is totaled. Totaling a vehicle causes damage to those in and around it.

Vehicle damage is relative to the target and its speed. Start at d6 and scale according to the fiction.

Damage against the vehicle depends on the method. Some instances may be Impaired based on the scale.

Wealth & Treasure

Cash is the most common form of currency. Vendors (both legal and illicit) may require different forms of payment to access them. Different in game variables may alter the prices listed in the equipment section.

Debt transcends all boundaries and can be a boon or a burden.

Relics are powerful items touched by the Old Powers. They are dangerous and sought after.

back to index

Combat

Start of combat

At the Start of Combat, each PC must make a DEX save for a chance to act before their adversaries.

  • Success: The PC may act before their opponent.
  • Failure: The PC does not get to go during the Start of Combat round. After the Start of Combat round, order proceeds with PCs acting, then adversaries.

Rounds

The game typically plays without strict time accounting. If timing is necessary, use 10 second rounds to keep track. A round is comprised of character turns. During each turn all actions, attacks, and movements take place simultaneously.

Actions

On their turn a character may move up to 40ft and take up to one action. This may be casting a spell, attacking, making a second move, or some other combat maneuver.

Players state what actions they will take before rolling dice. If they attempt something risky, the Facilitator will call for a save from the appropriate party.

All actions, attacks, and movements take place roughly at the same time.

Attacking & Damage

There are no rolls to hit. There are no misses, only varying levels of damage.

On their turn, the attacker rolls their weapon die, subtracts any Armor bonus, and deals the remaining total to the opponent’s HP. Excess damage is then dealt to STR (see Critical Damage)

Some attacks deal Stress instead. These follow the same process of rolling the stress die, subtracting any relevant Stability bonus and then dealing the remaining total to HP. Excess Stress is dealt to CTRL (see Critical Stress - Fallout Trigger)

Multiple Attackers

If multiple attackers target the same foe, roll all damage dice and keep the single highest result.

Attack Modifiers

An attack is Impaired if the attacker is in a position of weakness that would impact your effectiveness. Impaired attacks deal 1d4 damage. Some examples of a position of weakness are attacking through cover, being bound, mind clouded by shadows.

An attack is Enhanced if the attacker is in a position of advantage. Enhanced attacks deal 1d12 damage. Some examples of a position of advantage would be leveraging a daring maneuver, attacking a helpless adversary, or having your arm guided by the void. Unarmed attacks always do 1d4 damage.

Dual Weapons

If attacking with two weapons at the same time, roll both damage dice and keep the single highest result.

Blast

The blast quality denotes an attack that hits everything in a target area with damage rolled separately for each affected. Blast can be anything from explosions to spectral tentacles to the impact of a space embryo. If scale is unclear, roll damage dice to determine the number of targets affected.

Retreat

Escaping a doomed situation requires a successful DEX save and a safe destination in order to get away. Safely retreating is a victory in its own way.

Critical Damage

If damage brings a target’s HP below zero, their STR is decreased by the amount remaining. They must then make a STR save to avoid taking critical damage.
Suffering critical damage disables the victim. All they can do is crawl and grasp for life. Aid and rest required to persevere or they will die in the hour.

Critical Stress = Fallout

Stress that reduces a target’s HP below zero decreases a target’s CTRL by the amount remaining. They must then make a CTRL save to avoid Critical Stress.
If a character fails their CTRL save they take critical stress and gain fallout from the Stress Fallout table.

0 HP Stress = Fallout

If Stress to a PC reduces their HP to exactly 0, they must immediately roll or choose a result from the Stress Fallout table just as if they failed their CTRL save.

Ability Score Loss

If a PC’s STR is reduced to 0, they die. If their DEX is reduced to 0, they are paralyzed. If their CTRL is reduced to 0, they are lost.

Unconsciousness & Death

When a character dies, the player is free to create a new character or take control of an associate. They immediately join the party in order to reduce downtime.

Detachments

Large groups of similar combatants fighting together are treated as a single detachment. When a detachment takes critical damage, it is routed or significantly weakened. When it reaches 0 STR, it is destroyed.

Attacks against detachments by individuals are impaired (excluding blast damage).

Attacks against individuals by detachments are enhanced and deal blast damage.

Morale

Morale is a mechanical trigger used to simulate a NPCs’ desire to survive.

Enemies must pass a CTRL save to avoid fleeing when they take their first casualty and again when they lose half their number. Some groups may use their leader’s CTRL in place of their own. Lone foes must save when they’re reduced to 0 HP.

Some NPCs transcend measures of morale. Their proximity to the weird means their behavior diverges from other NPCs.

Morale does not affect PCs.

back to index

Magic

Magic System

Characters may be able to use magic if they:

  • Rolled it during character creation.
  • Gained it through Stress Fallout.
  • Were exposed and changed by the Old Powers during play. There are those who seek to mentor, and others who seek to inflict their lessons on others.

Random spells are generated using the table and process below.

  • Each morning the PC must fill an empty inventory slot with a random spell. PCs can only ‘create’ one spell per day. Players may instead choose to prepare a copy of a spell they lost on the previous day.
  • Spells use a single action.
  • Afterward they leave the inventory.
  • If deprived or in danger, the PC must make a CTRL save to avoid any ill-effects. Consequences of failure should correlate in level to the intended effect. Failure may result in Stress, Fatigue, injury, death or Omens/Magical Catastrophe.
  • Spell effects are decided by the Facilitator with input from the player. They should work together to come up with the general effect and scope of the spell. The Facilitator makes the final ruling in play. (Baseline: offensive spells typically cause d8 damage if it’s single target or d6 if it’s blast damage).
  • PCs can attempt to retain the spell by successfully making a CTRL save.
  • On success: Spell stays prepared. PC marks fatigue in an inventory slot.
  • On a failure: the player does not retain the spell, marks deprived and adds fatigued to their inventory.

Spell Tables (adapted from Maze Rats)

Step 1 - Spell Formula (2d6)

     
  1-3 4-6
1 Physical Effect + Physical Form Ethereal Element+ Physical Form
2 Physical Effect + Ethereal Form Ethereal Element+ Ethereal Form
3 Ethereal Effect + Physical Form Physical Effect + Physical Element
4 Ethereal Effect + Ethereal Form Physical Effect + Ethereal Element
5 Physical Element+ Physical Form Ethereal Effect + Physical Element
6 Physical Element+ Ethereal Form Ethereal Effect + Ethereal Element

Step 2 - Spell Name (roll 2d6 for each table called for in the formula)


Alt text

Omens and Magical Catastrophes

   
1 Animals die
2 City appears
3 Deadly fog
4 Dream plague
5 Endless night
6 Endless storm
7 Endless twilight
8 Endless winter
9 Forest appears
10 Graves open
11 Mass slumber
12 Meteor strike
13 Mirrors speak
14 No stars
15 Outsider enters
16 People vanish
17 Portal opens
18 Rifts open
19 Tower appears
20 Water to blood

back to index

Scrolls

Scrolls are similar to Magic, however:

  • They do not take up an inventory slot.
  • They do not cause fatigue.
  • They disappear after one use.
  • Players must make a CTRL save or receive 1d4 Stress

Relics

Relics are powerful and dangerous items touched by the Old Powers. Relics often have limited use and a recharge condition. Some examples:

Extractor - 0 charges. An old brass cylinder that resembles a medieval syringe. Able to transfer a ‘consciousness’ into another vessel. Recharge: Use the Extractor to wrench the consciousness from an “disabled” vessel. Users must make a CTRL save or take 1d4 stress.

Blade of Silence, 1 charge. This ornate dagger can disable all magic within 50ft, as long as you pay its price freely. Give forth your own blood (d6 damage) to activate. Recharge: Sleep under a moonless sky.

White Blade of Moonbone: (best of 2d6 CTRL damage, 3 Charges) - This glowing blade is made for one task, to sever. Recharge: Under a full moon, sunder a memory from one’s past.

Stone of Behrit 1 charge. Resembling a small egg with a distorted face. If you would take critical damage, ignore it instead. This stone activates and whisks you to safety. Recharge:

  • Sacrifice an innocent soul to the stone, add deprived and fatigued to the character sheet.
  • On the third recharge roll on Omens and Magical Catastrophes table.

An Anatomical Guide to Memory: The reader can converse with the souls bound within its pages. Take d6 Stress (CTRL) to read an entry. There are still empty pages in the book.

Horned Ring, 1 charge. Twist the ring to activate. You can sense how many people are around you and have distinct impressions of their inner feelings. Every hour your awareness becomes more refined, but take 1d6+1 Stress (CTRL). Recharge: Remove the ring, taking the Deprived tag for 12 hour

Instrument of the Black Flame: Some weapons have sigils and runes carved into them, warping and imbuing them with a heatless, black flame. The range depends on the weapon and they deal 1d6 CTRL damage to the target while dealing 1d4 Dex damage to the wielder.

back to index

Stress & Fallout

Stress is identical to damage, but targets CTRL instead of STR. Stress may come as a result of narrative consequences, failed saves, magic repercussions, or enemy attacks. Stress targets HP before going to CTRL.

Stress Examples

Note: The amount and frequency of how you deal stress establishes the tone and pacing of your game. It is a dial to control the amount of Weird your players encounter and how likely they are to change as a result.

   
1 Stress GLIMPSE: Encountering the strange or odd.
1d4 Stress CONTACT: The weird and unexplainable.
1d6 Stress EXPOSURE: Directly encountering the unknowable. Reality bends.
1d8 Stress CATASTROPHE: Major Powers, Omens, Catastrophes. Reality is close to breaking.
1d10 Stress DOOM: Direct contact with Old Powers. Reality rupturing.

Stress Fallout Tables

Some moments change an investigator forever.Some moments change an investigator forever. Players roll or choose from the the Stress Fallout table when either:

  • Stress reduces a PC’s HP to exactly 0
  • The character takes critical stress.

Unless marked, the Fallout can only be chosen once per table. Each Fallout takes up an inventory slot. It cannot be removed.

Note to Facilitators: The tone of the stress fallout table reflects the themes and goals of the game. Adjust for what works for your table, adding or changing entries as needed to ratchet up (or dial back) the weird. This is the main mechanical dial for the cosmic horror of your game.

  Stress Fallout Tables
   
   
1 Have you been replaced? You’ve seen what they can do -their magics and their deceptions. What would stop them from taking you? Maybe you aren’t who you think you are? How would you even know?
During your next moment of quiet reflection, roll 1d6. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
2 Memories of an Unknown Traveler: These memories are not your own. They are of a different time, a different place, from a perspective so unlike your own. The realities they walk through are so alien and different, their feelings so foriegn. If only you could understand what they experienced.
During your next rest, roll 1d6. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
3 Paranoia: Is it paranoia if the worries are completely reasonable? You’ve seen what happens in the dark, you know what goes bump in the night.
After a week, roll 1d6. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
4 Plagued by Nightmares: It comes for you every night, without fail. You do not know if they are from the beginning, or the end. All you know is that they won’t stop, and that they must mean something. After a week of nightmares, tell your Facilitator two distinct images that linger at the edge of your remembering.
5 Mirror World: Everything seemed okay at first, but now you are sure of it - the world inside the mirror is different. The side glances, the shifting of places, it is undeniable.
When you first start to notice, roll 2d6. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
6 Odd: You adopt an odd behavior that makes others uncomfortable. If you resist indulging in your “Oddity” for 24 hours, take the Deprived tag. If others see you engage in this creepy behavior, they must make a CTRL save or take 1d4 Stress.
After the first instance, roll 3d6. If the total is higher than your current CTRL, take the new result.
7 Hunger: You develop an unnatural hunger for the unusual. If you do not satiate your appetite for 24 hours, take the Deprived tag. When you eat, restore HP and give 1d4 stress to any that can see.
After the first instance, roll 3d6. If the total is higher than your current STR, take the new result.
8 Scarred: Every wound you inflict leaves its ragged mark upon your body.
After the first instance, make a CTRL save. If you pass, increase your max STR by 1d4.
9 Liminal Communion: It wasn’t noticeable at first, but you’ve slowly begun to regularly do a sequence of gestures, words, or actions -almost as if you are performing a ritual.
When you first start to notice, make a CTRL save. If you pass, increase your max CTRL by 1d4.
10 Magical Corruption (this can be taken multiple times per character): Flesh is weak. A part of your body becomes visibly changed through your proximity to the weird. The Facilitator and Player should decide on how that change manifests and if it has any mechanical impacts.
     
     
11 Threshold: There is a pale door with a black handle. It is unremarkable other than the fact that this door can seemingly appear anywhere. Sometimes the door is in places it should not be. Sometimes it stands alone, attached to nothing at all. The one thing you are sure of is that it is the same door each time- one you have not yet been able to open.  
12 Neural Superposition: You see images of unknown places superposed onto this one, sometimes making it difficult to tell what is real. In another time you may have been called an oracle.
When you roll DEX saves, roll 2d20 and take the lowest result. Once per day you see something significant (ask your Facilitator what it is).
 
13 Seventh Son of a Seventh Son: Enough exposure has shifted and changed you. You are more connected to the otherworldly. Add Magic to your character sheet and follow the rules. This new power is great, and terrible.
The first time you use a spell it causes 1d6 stress.

Your second spell causes 1d4 stress

Finally the third spell you cast causes 1 stress.
 
14 Marked by fear: The core of your being has been twisted and changed. When you act in a way that manifests your marked fear and have to make a save, roll 2d20 and take the lowest result. When you resist an opportunity to indulge the fear, take 1d4 stress.
Create a fundamental fear with your Facilitator.
 
15 Heavy is the head: An ethereal crown hangs above your head. It is not visible to all, only a special few. Tales have been told of your coming.
Make a CTRL save. If you pass, increase your max CTRL by 1d6.
 
16 Full to Bursting: You have a feeling of fullness and contentment.
Next time you would fail a critical damage STR save:
you succeed instead. Immediately and violently begin to vomit vermin (player’s choice).

Any being that can see they must make a CTRL save or take 1d6 stress.

Roll 3d6. If the total is higher than your max CTRL, take the new result.
 
17 Progeny: Something is growing inside of you. Hope has long since abandoned it, and it has no more room for dreams.
Roll 2d6. Take the new result as your max HP
 
18 Fate’s Web (this can only be taken once per character but multiple times per table): At least a puppet can see the strings that bind it, if only you were so lucky.
Roll on the Magical Fallout Table - Omens and Magical Catastrophes.
 
19 The Hunt: Patronage is a dangerous thing. It becomes harder to ignore the primal impulses that burn deep inside you. Your attacks are Enhanced Critical Damage mutilates your body but you can continue to act.
You become the primary target of otherworldly and attacks made against you are Enhanced.
 
20 Doomed (this can be taken multiple times per character):
You have been branded for sacrifice, anointed for doom. If your next critical save against damage is a failure, you die horribly. If it is a success, you roll 3d6 + the number of times you’ve taken Doomed. If the total is higher than your max HP, take the new result.
 

back to index

Paranatural Bestiary

Cultist
3 HP, 1 Armor, 8 STR, 12 DEX, 10 CTRL
Dagger (d6), Blood Sigil (d4 Stress)

  • Every cult needs followers, footsoldiers, and believers.
  • To please their masters, to gain access to power, to survive.
  • Rarely alone.

Frog-Men
4 HP, 13 STR, 12 DEX, 10 CTRL
Claws (d6) Tongue (d8)

  • Sapient humanoid frogs. Large, muscular. Some are able to hide as men.
  • To remain hidden. To free their master. To inherit the earth.
  • Some have a moderate ability to create illusions and cloud minds. This can cause CTRL damage

Special Agent
6 HP, 1 Armor, 14 STR, 12 DEX, 10 CTRL
Service Pistol (d6)

  • Black suits, black glasses. Some believe, others doubt, most follow orders.
  • To obscure, to acquire, to maintain order
  • Critical Damage: The special agent apprehends the target.

Child of the Spoor
4 HP, 1 Armor, 12 STR, 8 DEX, 6 CTRL
Spoor blessed dagger (d6)

  • The flesh is host to parasitic fungus that has overtaken the brain and connected them to the grand structure. Some have fruiting bodies sprouting from fissures in the flesh, while others are barely noticeable, except for the slight fuzz.
  • To propagate. To gestate. To &^%$(~!@
  • Critical Damage: Some of the spoors enter the victim’s body.

Corporate Analyst
8 HP, 1 Armor, 10 STR, 14 DEX, 14 CTRL
Magitek prototype weapon (d6 blast)

  • Varying in look but always professional in dress and appearance.
  • To protect corporate interests, to test, to acquire.
  • Each analyst has a different specialty, all pose unique dangers to the fabric of reality. Give a critical damage trigger that reflects their department.

Witch
8 HP, 2 Armor, 8 STR, 12 DEX, 13 CTRL
Walking stick (d6) Magic (at least 2 spells)

  • Witches can look like anyone. Some have been changed through proximity to magic (you can roll on Magic - Fallout Mutations if you want to up their weird)
  • To learn, to hide, to influence. Sometimes, to teach.
  • Critical Damage: The Witch leaves their sigil upon their target, forming a connection with them.

Ghost
10 HP, 3 Armor, 10 STR, 10, DEX, 12 CTRL
Spectral embrace (d6 CTRL)

  • Incorporeal spirits unable to leave after death.
  • Drives vary as much as in the living. The act of becoming a ghost often means they lean toward violence, vengeance, and pettiness.
  • Can attempt a possession, target must succeed a CTRL save to resist.

Mother
14 HP, 1 Armor, 14 STR, 8 DEX, 14 CTRL
Claws (d8, transforming), Kiss (d6 stress)

  • Impossibly tall, curvy, pale.
  • To protect, to nurture, to punish.
  • Critical Damage: Her time is now. Mother transforms.

The Swarm
10 HP, 3 Armor, 14 STR, 10 DEX
Cascade of vermin (d6, blast)

  • Was once a normal person, now they are host to a legion (choose maggots/worms/ants). Upon close inspection the viewer can see movement underneath the skin. Treat as a Detachment
  • To burrow, to corrupt, to spread.
  • Critical Damage: The victim is unable to pick off the swarm in time, they begin to burrow too deep.

Fleshsmith
12 HP, 2 Armor, 16 STR, 8 DEX, 10 CTRL
Hands (d8 - d10)

  • Master of the flesh, his appearance shifts and changes. Most often in a massive form, all muscle & bone at impossible proportions.
  • To make art. To perfect. To manipulate
  • Critical Damage: He is an artist, and the victim’s body is the clay. The Fleshsmith distorts an appendage in an impossible way.

Company Man
13 HP, 1 Armor, 14 STR, 14 DEX, 14 CTRL

  • Impeccable gray suit, trailed by a non-euclidian shadow.
  • To control, to twist, to employ.
  • Can heal using the bodies of others as fuel (drones).
  • Delegated Magic: Can cast Magics through conduits, consuming their souls and sundering their flesh.

Drone:
2 HP, 10 STR, 10 DEX, 10 CTRL,
Hands or tools (d6)

  • Often normal people. When being utilized there is a glassy look to them. Sometimes their color ain’t right (skin, hair, clothes, everything).
  • To follow. To be used.
  • Drones can ignore their first instance of critical damage. Does not retreat unless it’s master wills it.

Echo
10 HP, 2 Armor, 12 STR , 15 DEX , 14 CTRL
Tentacle (d10, Blast)

  • Echo of an Old Power.
  • Quickly fading, must use flesh to maintain its frequency.
  • Critical damage: Avatar rends the victim and absorbs it into itself (1d4 pieces). Fully heals STR.

The Dark
10 HP, 12 STR, 15 DEX, 14 CTRL
Bite (d6) Shadow’s Embrace (d6 stress)

  • Appearance unknown. Number unknown. Presence preceded by the blinking out of lights
  • To rend, to take within itself.
  • All attacks made against them are made at disadvantage.

back to index

Creating Monsters

Use the following template to model NPCs and monsters:

  • Title (denotes the type of NPC/monster)
  • NPC Name (most things have a name. Some have forgotten theirs and are now solely defined by their title)
  • X HP, X Armor, X STR, X DEX, X CTRL,
  • Attack (dX, special items, qualities)
  • Description (appearance or demeanor)
  • Drive, behavior, tactic, or peculiarity
  • Special effect or critical damage consequence.

General Principles

  • Ability Scores are 10 unless noted.
  • Ability Scores: 3 is deficient, 6 is weak, 10 is average, 14 is noteworthy, and 18 is legendary.
  • HP: 3 HP is average , 6 HP sturdy, 1 0+ HP is serious threat
  • HP is Hit Protection, not a measure of Hit Points. It’s a measure of skill, luck, drive, resilience.
  • Flavor and style = memorable
  • Use d6 as the baseline for damage.
  • Including ways to deal stress makes the game more Weird (increases chance of Stress Fallout)
  • Critical Damage triggers increase threat or strangeness

Creature Cheat Sheet:

  • Able to avoid being hit? Give it HP.
  • Soak up damage? Give it Armor.
  • Physically powerful? Give it a high STR or larger damage dice.
  • Quick? Give it high DEX.
  • Weird? Give it high CTRL or ability to deal Stress Damage.

back to index

Spark Tables

Spark Tables are used to prompt ideas. Roll 2d20 and combine the result. The entries are general enough that they can be used as the inspiration for a person, place, event, or object.

d20 Spark One Spark Two   d20 Spark One Spark Two
1 Germinating Swarm   1 Invoking Filth
2 Bubbling Heart   2 Fractured Transformation
3 Nourishing Heresy   3 Buried Host
4 Bone Church   4 Warding Time
5 Standing Binding   5 Keen Telepathy
6 Primordial Hunter   6 Occult Construct
7 Spirit Corruption   7 Moonlight Weakness
8 Poisonous Passage   8 Lesser Cemetery
9 Edible Threshold   9 Rippling Pools
10 Invisible Grimoire   10 Repeating Banishment
11 Rabid Fissure   11 Mouthless Trunk
12 Underground Knack   12 Smoldering Whine
13 Oracle Shadows   13 Forsaken Sunder
14 Control Weeping   14 Paranoia Sickness
15 Harrowing Fancy   15 Unintelligible Sphere
16 Blood Thread   16 Subterranean Shade
17 Psychedelic Sky   17 Liminal Forgotten
18 Malformed Gloom   18 Infused Spikes
19 Dank Tail   19 Diseased Sigil
20 Glowing Deep   20 Mounded Parasite
d20 Spark One Spark Two   d20 Spark One Spark Two
1 Shifting Secrets   1 Ominous Flanges
2 Missing Burrows   2 Mortal Doorway
3 Weaving Death   3 Knotty Infestation
4 Pock-Marked Errant   4 Fleshy Slaughter
5 Carved Web   5 Truthful Memory
6 Grotesque Hue   6 Defensive Decay
7 Entangled Horror   7 Screaming Desolation
8 Embryonic Delve   8 Summoning Vibrations
9 Hideous Vast   9 Preserved Ozone
10 Beholding Magic   10 Transmutation Sludge
11 Foaming Eye   11 Suffocating Warp
12 Inverted Incantation   12 Distorted Sinew
13 Damp Discord   13 Possessed Hallowing
14 Flesh Armor   14 Shrunken Horned
15 Withering Flesh   15 Vibrant Tongues
16 Genesis Spell   16 Shimmering Twitterings
17 Digesting Growth   17 abyssal Polymorph
18 White Fungi   18 Predatory Secrets
19 Fading Hunger   19 Threaded Tissue
20 Illusory Appetite   20 twisted Outgrowth

Examples:

  • Bone Swarm
  • Germinating Heresy
  • Primordial Hunter
  • Rippling Filth
  • Inverted Flesh
  • Carved Incantation
  • Digesting Armor
  • Embryonic Fungi
  • Shrunken Infestation
  • Fleshy Horns
  • Predatory Memory
  • Transmuting Ozone

back to index

Mystery Framework

Creating Your Own Mysteries

This framework can use to create mysteries for Liminal Horror. The subsequent mystery Plague of Frogs acts as an example of the mystery components.

  • TOUCHSTONES: Create a list of films, games, comics, or novels to help anchor the tone and act as visual reference for the mystery.
  • CONCEPT: Write a clear and succinct concept statement. If it is too confusing, that may mean you need to edit some of the other variables in the mystery.
  • FACTIONS & THEIR GOALS: List out the initial factions and their goals. Use the agendas to inform NPC reactions in and out of play.
  • DOOM CLOCK: Create a baseline sequence of events that will happen if the investigators don’t intervene. Actions taken by the PCs change the progression of the DOOM clock. Changes to the DOOM clock should consider the goals of the factions at play.
  • HOOKS: Create multiple entry points that could be used to entangle the table in the mystery.
  • POTENTIAL CLUES: Create a non-comprehensive list of potential clues that players can discover. When thinking about the mystery, think of tangible clues that the investigators can find.
  • NPCs: Create a list of important NPCs with their stat blocks. Use the Paranatural Bestiary for some example monsters or create them using the Creating Monsters Guidance.
  • LOCATIONS: Decide on a few important locations and write some descriptions for them. Draft some rough maps of locations as a way to anchor investigators during play.

back to index

PLAGUE OF FROGS

Mystery Index

Design Notes & Core Rules

Touchstones

  • BPRD: Plague of Frogs (comic) Re-Animator (film) Alien (film)

Concept

  • There has been a rash of attacks happening within the city, leaving victims on the precipice of transformation.
  • Dr. Shelly has been using her health clinic as a front to experiment on the houseless (using science and the occult) in order to try and restore an ancient precursor race of frog-monsters.
  • She has been releasing her failures into the tunnels where they continue to mutate and change. They begin practicing rituals from a time long since forgotten.
  • Dr. Shelly’s work has been accelerated by the recent acquisition of a rare text provided to her from a mysterious benefactor (The Archivist)

back to mystery index

Factions & Their Goals

  • Dr. Shelly: To bring about the second coming of the primordial humanoid frogs spoken of within Ogdoad’s Well.
  • Frog-Monsters: They are slowly becoming something new. Whispers from the Old Power’s drive them to propagate and start the Ritual of Incursion.
  • The Archivist: Used B&H deliveries to anonymously donate Ogdoad’s Well to Dr. Shelly. Interested in seeing what Dr. Shelly corruption will yield. He will add whatever results to his collection. Prefers to take indirect actions/use others to acquire items.
  • The Authorities: Choose an organization for your game that awaits off screen. They could be: A private company/ A secret government agency/ An ancient order… This group cares more about acquiring power and maintaining control than saving innocent lives.

Doom Clock

Actions taken by the investigators change the progression of the DOOM clock. The progression below is what would happen if investigators don’t intervene. Changes to the DOOM clock should consider the goals of the factions at play.

  • A rash of attacks by released Frog-Monsters. Victims go catatonic with bouts of delirium.
  • A Frog-Monster ascends to priesthood, creating a shrine of flesh and bone to the Old Powers.
  • Survivors of the attacks turn into frog-monsters over a single evening.
  • Images of frog-monsters picked up by the media.
  • A congregation of frog-monsters overtake the lab, taking Dr. Shelly and the tome to the flesh chapel.
  • Frog-monsters complete the Ritual of Incursion - Dr. Shelly is the vessel.
  • The Authorities (see factions) come in to control the situation through force and acquire assets. The party will be targeted for its involvement. Massive casualties.

back to mystery index

Hooks

Below are potential hooks for your party. Make sure that the hook makes sense for the group (align it to the Party Questions)

  • The party witnesses and is forced to intercede in a frog-monster attacking someone. Direct stress through contact with the paranatural.
  • The Archivist (either directly or anonymously) asks the group to look into the attacks or offers payment for any evidence of the para-natural.
  • Postings about the “Attack of the Mole People” either online, on polls, in Street Roots (alternative paper made by houseless population).
  • One of the investigator’s connections gets attacked.
  • Corpse of a mutated frog-monster is discovered.
  • The party gets contracted to investigate by the Authority faction (a dangerous option that entangles the investigators with this faction).

Potential Clues

  • Medical professionals have been sending victims of attacks with no insurance to Dr. Shelly’s clinic.
  • Dr. Shelly is being consulted about a deformed corpse.
  • Sewer grime on victims & frog-monsters.
  • Frog-monsters have a distinct smell of medical antiseptic underneath the sewer stink.
  • B&H delivery van spotted at various scenes of attacks.
  • A pattern in the location of attacks surrounds an abandoned sewer expansion project.
  • Small flier for a medical study put on by Dr. Shelly is either on a frog-monster or in a missing person’s home.
  • Video cameras catch glimpses of frog-monsters.

Frog Monsters

  • New frog-monsters are feral hunters drawn to infect others.
  • The longer they survive the more intelligent some become.
  • Inherent within them is a drive to worship the Old Powers, which leads their violence toward becoming more ritualistic and arcane in nature.

Infection: If an investigator suffers critical damage from a Frog-monster’s tongue, they become infected.

  • Infection can only be stopped through cutting edge science or magical means.
  • The victim slowly transforms (increase Str & Dex by D6).
  • After the change they need to succeed in a daily CTRL save or be lost to the party

back to mystery index

NPCs

SCIENTIST

Name: Dr. Shelly

8 HP 10 STR, 10 DEX, 14 CTRL

Syringe (Dex save or incapacitate),

Gun (D6), reading Tome (D6 Stress)

  • Face-cast: Tilda Swinton the scientist consumed by the occult.
  • To continue her research, to complete her part, to ascend.
  • There is no line she won’t cross in order to bring about the Plague of Frogs.

THE ARCHIVIST

Name: Mr. Sims

13 HP, 1 Armor, 14 STR, 14 DEX, 14 CTRL

  • Impeccable gray suit, trailed by a non-euclidian shadow.
  • Face-Cast: a much older Mads Mikkelsen.
  • To collect, to corrupt, to unlock.
  • Can heal using drones as fuel (drones). Can make more drones.
  • Delegated Magic: Can cast chaos magics through conduits, consuming their souls and sundering their flesh.

DRONES

3 HP, 10 STR, 10 DEX, 10 CTRL

Hands or tools (d6)

  • Currently there are two drones in active use.
  • Coveralls with B&H embroidered on the front, a large white van with B&H Delivery.
  • Glassy look to them. Sometimes their color ain’t right (skin, hair, clothes, everything).
  • To follow. To be used.
  • Can ignore the first instance of critical damage. Does not retreat unless it’s master wills it.

Frog Monster

Stats range from:

4-8 HP, 0-2 Armor,

13-16 STR, 12 DEX, 10 CTRL

Claws (D6) Tongue (D8)

  • Humanoid frogs. Large, muscular. Some are able to hide their form

  • To remain hidden. To free their master. To inherit the earth.

  • Critical Damage: Victim becomes infected Frog-Monsters

Frog Priest

8 HP, 2 Armor, 13 STR, 12 DEX, 15 CTRL

Tongue (D8), Void Touch (D6 Stress)

  • Runes carved into its flesh (like those upon the altar it created).
  • To complete the Ritual of Incursion, to uplift the frog-monsters, to lead.
  • It is able to carve permanent marks into it’s victim’s using it’s Void Touch.
  • Critical Stress: It’s own rune’s start to bleed purple flames causing 4 stress to all in the vicinity.

Potential NPCs to Prep

  • Social Worker
  • Police Officer
  • Bartender
  • Sanitation
  • Mortician or Heath-care provider
  • Member of the houseless community

back to mystery index

Locations

Dr. Shelly’s Clinic

Outside

  • From the outside Dr. Shelly’s clinic is extremely nondescript.

Main Level

  • The inside is sparse.
  • Eggshell white waiting room with mint green vinyl chairs and an empty reception desk.
  • The back areas look to be surprisingly underused for how many people are listed on the sign in logs (many of the names seem fake).
  • Large supply closet is empty except for a shelf (hidden stairway to below).
  • There are cameras everywhere.

Hidden Lower Lab

The lower lab level revolves around the large Sterile Operating Theater[A] with an attached space leading away from it in each direction (B-E going clockwise).

Sterile Operating Theater [A]

  • Partially dissected person/frog.
  • Large tubes with different stages of frog-monster floating in viscous liquid.
  • Multiple tables with heavy duty restraints.
  • Extensive drills,saws, knives, syringes.

Staircase [B]

  • To the north of the operating theater.
  • The only way to get to the clinic from the lower lab.

Office/Living Area [C]

  • To the east of the operating theater.
  • A large converted office area.
  • Every inch of the room is covered in diagrams, photos, scientific notes interspersed with ancient languages and occult iconography.
  • A small desk has a single old leather book upon it (Ogdoad’s Well).
  • Tucked in the back of the tome is a receipt from B&H delivery.
  • Behind two movable whiteboards is a small cot and hot plate.
  • There is a CCTV monitor and door control system in this room.

OGDOAD’S WELL (RELIC)

An ancient tome written in an unknown language. Multiple diagrams within the book of a race of primordial humanoid frogs. Anything more than flipping through the book causes D4 stress.

Holding Pen/Sewer Exit [D]

  • To the south of the operating theater.
  • A wide hallway with reinforced doors at either end
  • Plexiglass holding pens line both sides of the hallway.
  • One pen has 0-3 Frog-Monsters
  • The other pen has 0-2 drugged humans
  • The farthest door opens on to the sewer.
  • All doors in this area can be controlled remotely from the office.

Walk-In [E]

  • To the west of the operating theater.
  • A freezer with multiple bodies stored within.
  • A rack filled with tagged samples on the back wall.
  • On the middle shelf are seven large vials of neon green liquid (labeled in an unknown language).

back to mystery index

The Sewers

Exterior Entrance

The main entrance to the sewers is an abandoned work site that has been fenced off and boarded up.

  • Close inspection shows that (the fence has a large hole in it.
  • The boards have been removed.
  • There is evidence of heavy traffic in and out.

Interior Sewers

The sewers are dark, wet, and at times cramped.

  • As the investigators explore the tunnels the more they become filled with a thick, sticky membrane (like from the chamber in Aliens).
  • Use sound/shadow to indicate being followed, but actually they’re being led).

Things That Can Go Wrong Deep Below Ground

  1. Equipment lost or broken.
  2. Investigators get separated.
  3. Getting ambushed by a Frog-Monster.
  4. Caught in sticky membrane
  5. Getting lost/lose the path back.
  6. Hear the cries of a person in distress deeper in the sewers.

Crossroad Within the Deep

Eventually the investigators should reach a crossroads down deep within the sewer system. To the left is Dr. Shelly’s hidden lab (Holding Pen/Sewer Exit [D]) , and to the right leading deeper toward the Frog-Priests altar.

Provide Clues to what would be down either path.

  • Lab: A medical antiseptic scent, the drone of generators, fluorescent lights.
  • Altar: The flicker of flame, chant like droning, strange markings upon the wall, increased instances of membrane.

After a choice is made: This crossroads is a perfect place for the Frog-Monsters to set up a trap for when the party is trying to escape.

The Frog Priest’s Altar

Off of a main sewer line is a side passage that curves into a chamber.

  • The space is filled with candles that illuminate the sigils painted along every inch of the wall
  • Opposite the entrance is a large altar made from multiple frog bodies splayed open in impossible angles.
  • Close inspection reveals that all the bodies making up the altar are still “alive.”
  • Kneeling before the altar is the Frog-Priest, often attended by two small Frog-Monsters, half the size of those they’ve seen before.
  • Investigators witnessing things in this space will receive stress. Most likely it would range from: Contact (D4 Stress) to Exposure (D6 Stress).

back to mystery index

Rules Summary

ABILITIES
STR: Physicality, brawn & toughness.
DEX: Speed, sneaking & precision.
CTRL: Willpower, charm & weird.

SAVES
Roll d20 equal to or under target Ability. The party at most risk in a contested action makes the save.

HIT PROTECTION
HP reflects a character’s ability to avoid damage (both from damage and stress).

HEALING
A quick rest fully restores HP but can leave the investigators exposed. Ability loss requires a week’s rest with medical intervention or magical means.

DEPRIVATION
Deprived keeps a PC from recovering HP. Being deprived for more than 24hrs adds Fatigue to a PCs inventory. Fatigue takes up one slot and lasts until they can recuperate. This can happen multiple times

INVENTORY
PCs have 10 inventory slots. Most items take up one slot. Bulky items take up two slots and are awkward or difficult to carry. All 10 slots being in use lowers HP to 0.

MAGIC
A new spell is created each morning. It is random or is a copy of one the previous day. Spells take up one item slot. Spells cost one action to cast. One may attempt a CTRL save to retain the spell. If deprived or in danger, a CTRL save may be required to avoid dire consequences.

ACTIONS
On their turn, characters may move 40ft and take a single action. Actions are casting a spell, attacking, additional movement, or some other reasonable action. These take place simultaneously.

Retreating from a doomed situation requires a successful DEX save and a safe destination.

For the Start of Combat round, characters must pass an DEX save in order to act. Subsequent turns have players acting, then adversaries.

COMBAT
All attacks automatically hit. Attackers roll their Stress or Damage die, subtract any protections from Armor (damage) or Stability (stress), and deal the remaining total to the opponent’s HP. Excess damage is dealt to STR and excess stress is dealt to CTRL.

If there are Multiple attackers, or one using two weapons, roll all damage dice together and keep the single highest die.

Unarmed attacks always do 1d4 damage. Impaired attacks (position of weakness) reduce damage die to 1d4. Shooting into cover is Impaired. Enhanced attacks (position of advantage) increase damage die to 1d12. Blast affects all area targets, rolling separately for each.

DAMAGE
Damage that exceeds the remaining HP applies the excess to STR. They must then make a STR save to avoid critical damage. Failure drops them out of combat, dying if left untreated.

Having STR 0 means death; having DEX 0 is paralysis; having CTRL 0 they are lost.

STRESS & FALLOUT
Player chooses from the Stress Fallout table when either:

  • Stress reduces a PC’s HP to exactly 0
  • A PC takes critical stress (when they fail a CTRL save after it takes Ability damage)


Each Stress Fallout entry:

  • Can only be chosen once at the table (unless denoted).
  • Consumes an inventory slot.

back to index


Back to top

Liminal Horror was written and designed by Goblin Archives